When it comes to small estates, the importance of properly executed paperwork cannot be overstated. A small estate affidavit is a legal document used to transfer assets from an estate to its beneficiaries. Occasionally, disputes arise over the ownership of property or other assets included in the estate. A challenge may be related to a signature being “forged,” a date altered, or a page substitution. If this happens, you may need a document examiner to help resolve the issue. Let’s look at what precisely a document examiner can do and why their services are of value when disputing a small estate affidavit

What Does a Document Examiner Do?

A document examiner uses scientific principles and techniques to analyze documents for authenticity. They compare signatures in question with known signature samples, analyze documents for alterations, recover indented writing, and more. Document examiners utilize laboratory instruments such as microscopes, alternate light sources, and electrostatic detection devices. These instruments allow an examiner to determine if a signature is an original or a copy, confirm an alteration to a date or other numerical entries and other irregularities in documents, and recover indented writing. 

Why Are Document Examiners Necessary?

When disputing a small estate affidavit, it’s essential to have an impartial expert review relevant documents for evidence before making any decisions about the ownership or distribution of assets from the estate. A document examiner may provide valuable assistance by objectively assessing any documents in question. Their conclusions will help make informed decisions to move the case toward resolution. If the dispute is not resolved, the document examiner will provide testimony at a court proceeding in support of their examination results. 

Final Check

All paperwork related to a small estate transaction must be correctly executed if disputes are to be avoided at a later time. An attorney is best suited for that task. However, properly executed documents are occasionally altered by a sibling, giving them a financial advantage over other family members. At that point, retaining an experienced document examiner should be considered. Their specialized training allows them to identify evidence of alterations or other discrepancies within documents. Establishing such proof could mean the difference between being successful or not at a court proceeding. Protect your interests by engaging an attorney and a qualified document examiner to work toward establishing the validity of estate documents affecting your inheritance.

Disputing a Small Estate Affidavit? Use an Expert.

Forensic Document Examiner James A. Green has provided expert testimony in more than 150 cases in various State and Federal Courts and Canada. Mr. Green is Certified by the American Board of Forensic Document Examiners. He is an active member of the American Society of Questioned Document Examiners, the American Academy of Forensic Sciences -Questioned Document Section, and the Southwest Association of Forensic Document Examiners. To learn more about the expert witness services provided by Mr. Green, call 888-485-0832 or send an email.